3,000 SMEs benefit from rail work

More than 3,000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have benefited from £1.3bn worth of business from Network Rail, according to new figures. 

SMEs are also making up a record 75% of Network Rail’s supplier base.

In November 2019, Network Rail set out its SME action plan, making it easier for SMEs to do business and increasing the number of tendering opportunities. 

In the last financial year (2022/23), out of the 4,130 suppliers directly contracted by Network Rail, 3,107 suppliers - 75% - were SMEs.

Clive Berrington, Network Rail’s group commercial and procurement director, said: “Small and medium-sized businesses make a big contribution to the rail network, and we remain committed to offering them opportunities to work on the railway.

“The UK rail network is the lifeblood of the country and vital to moving people and freight around. By supporting SMEs to work on the railway, we increase competition and drive down costs while also increasing efficiency, creativity, and innovation.

“We know there is more we can do to further support SMEs and during 2024, we will review and refresh our SME action plan and share it with industry.”

The Government set out a target for Network Rail to spend 33% of its third-party expenditure with SMEs. 

In the last financial year, the total spend was 34.9%, with £1.305bn directly spent with SMEs, and indirectly it was £1.665bn via Network Rail’s tier-one suppliers.

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